Over 100 warship locations have been faked in one year

by Jeremy

Abuses of location technology might result in hot political disputes. According to Wired, SkyWatch and Global Fishing Watch have conducted studies showing that over 100 warship locations have been faked since August 2020, including the British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth and the US destroyer Roosevelt. In some cases, the false data showed the vessels entering disputed waters or nearing other countries’ naval bases — movements that could spark international incidents.

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The research team found the fakes by comparing the automatic identification system (AIS, a GPS-based system to help prevent collisions) with verifiable position data by using an identifying pattern. The false info came from shore-based AIS receivers while satellites showed the actual positions, for instance. Global Fishing Watch had been investigating fake AIS positions for years, but this was the first time it had seen falsified data for accurate ships.

It’s not sure who’s faking locations and why. However, analysts said the data was characteristic of a typical perpetrator that might be Russia. Almost all of the affected warships were from European countries or NATO members, and the data included bogus incursions around Kaliningrad, the Black Sea, Crimea, and other Russian interests. In theory, Russia could portray Europe and NATO as aggressors by falsely claiming those rivals sent warships into the Russian seas.

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